The candidates who lead the intention to vote in the Prensa Libre survey propose closing the Presidential Commission Against Corruption (CPCC) by stating that its results are deficient and instead proposing an independent instance of the Government.
On September 3, 2019, then-President Jimmy Morales decided not to renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (Cicig). Alejandro Giammattei, who had just been elected president, promised that instead he would create an entity against corruption that would be directed from the Executive, that is how he created the CPCC, an entity whose function is to detect anomalies within the ministries and secretariats of the Government .
This dependency has earned it criticism for lack of trust from different social sectors, who affirm that it is not autonomous and lacks impartiality.
- Advertisement -
“This does not work, better slate and new account. No commission that is not autonomous is going to work, it has to be a social audit, made up of civil society,” says Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE).
Torres, who is seeking the Presidency for the third time in a row, says that he would “promote a political pact made up of sectors of society to function as social auditors.”
“I would say something local, but headed by proven people, who are national leaders represented by all sectors: churches, unions, teachers, universities, think tanks, who get involved so that there is that transparency that we need,” he said.
The CPCC was established with the promise of creating mechanisms to detect acts of corruption and recommending laws and regulations for other government institutions, functions that, according to the presidential candidates, are not fulfilled, for which they promise to specify other, more independent instances.
“First we are going to dismantle the Presidential Commission against Corruption, which is useless. We are going to create other instances of surveillance and control, but independent, with civil society, with the media. No one linked to the government. If not, it doesn’t work,” says Edmond Mulet, the Cabal party’s presidential candidate.
- Advertisement -
Mulet affirms that any action to combat corruption would reach the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), whose magistrates have not been relieved for more than three years.
On behalf of the Valor party, whose presidential candidate is Zury Ríos, it was reported that “the Commission is valid until January 21, 2028, so they will evaluate the performance of this instance.
“We will evaluate the operation and impact of the fight against corruption carried out by said commission in the Executive Branch, after which we will make the decision to continue, reform or annul said commission,” he responded to a query from Prensa Libre.
- Advertisement -
Despite the criticism, other candidates believe that this commission should continue and be strengthened.
“These Institutions must be maintained, some require reengineering. The Presidential Commission Against Corruption must work, we should have the best people, we must equip it, we must give it technical personnel, and it must be a highly visible office so that it can fulfill its function,” says Manuel Conde, presidential candidate for the Vamos party, who affirm that the case of corruption revealed by anomalous purchases in the Chimaltenango hospital was the product of the work of that commission.
“Very little was said that the complaint was made by this commission and that all those involved in these purchases were investigated, those are the facts that we must strengthen,” he argued.
Last April, through government agreement 72-2023, Giammattei extended the validity of the aforementioned Commission for four more years, so it would conclude its operation in January 2028.
However, the candidate of the Victoria party, Amílcar Rivera, maintains that he would not invest more State resources in a commission that, according to him, “is not independent”, therefore it would be “eliminated” from the moment he assumes the Presidency.
“We must have real independence of powers, that the Comptroller’s Office be strengthened, but really that it has independence and that it does not depend on the Executive or the Legislative and, of course, also the Courts and the Public Ministry,” he said.
For Walter Menchú, an analyst at the Center for National Economic Research (Cien), the next president “legally” would have to repeal the government agreement to render said Presidential Commission ineffective, otherwise, he has to keep it in operation.
The CPCC is chaired by Óscar Dávila, who served as head of the MP’s anti-narcotics prosecutor’s office and as Vice Minister of Anti-narcotics in the Ministry of the Interior.
In 2022, the CPCC received 205 corruption alerts from different government agencies, of which 156 were admitted, of which 37 were for alleged irregularities in the Ministry of Education and 22 for Health.
Among the criminal complaints that the CPCC has filed is the embezzlement of Q4.4 million in the Ministry of Health, although the results of that investigation are unknown.
Since 2020 that it was created, until last May 5, the Commission has spent Q29 million 195 thousand, 425 per operation, according to the Integrated Accounting System (Sicoin). The annual budget assigned to it is Q11 million.